PREPARATIONS have been stepped up in Northwich ahead of any potential flooding incidents this week as Storm Christoph arrives.

With the Environment Agency having issued a flood alert for the River Weaver catchment area, officers have worked with Cheshire West and Chester Council to take precautions in town.

The second phase of the town's flood defence scheme is now being deployed, while barriers were installed last week in the first phase, and sandbags have been laid down in key locations and gully cleaning has taken place.

It all follows frustration from Cllr Sam Naylor, the town centre's representative on CWAC, who questioned what had been learned since the flooding in autumn 2019 when London Road was affected last Friday.

Cllr Karen Shore, CWAC cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: "Due to the forecast of more heavy rain this week, the council has put additional contingency measures in place, including providing local businesses with sandbags for extra protection and providing additional equipment to pump water away in the worst areas.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and working with other agencies, we are prepared to take further action should the need arise.”

Northwich Guardian: Town centre businesses have also been provided with sandbagsTown centre businesses have also been provided with sandbags

More heavy rain is expected over the coming days, with the Met Office having issued a yellow weather warning in Cheshire this week.

CWAC is contacting businesses, homeowners, schools and care homes in areas at risk of flooding to make them aware and to give out information. 

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Heavy downpours falling on already saturated ground may also cause flooding more widely across England from today until Saturday for slower responding rivers.

"We have therefore taken the decision to deploy phase two of the Northwich Flood Risk Management Scheme.

"This is being done as a precautionary measure to provide reassurance to the community and protect people and properties from any potential high river levels. Environment Agency teams are also out on the ground clearing grilles, screens, deploying temporary flood defences and closing flood barriers.

“We urge people to keep away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car."

Northwich Guardian: Northwich Marina, which was affected by last week's heavy rainNorthwich Marina, which was affected by last week's heavy rain

Last week, Cllr Naylor raised concerns over the time taken to produce a Section 19 report, which discussed the causes of flooding in Northwich in autumn 2019 and any recommendations to reduce the risk of future flooding.

CWAC says that full report is now expected to be available this spring.

Cllr Shore added: “Working alongside our partners we are doing all we can to prepare for this and we would ask members of the public to work with us by keeping up to date with the current situation.

"We must also remember that we are in the middle of a lockdown. We need to ensure the public’s safety in terms of potential flooding incidents whilst adhering to social distancing."

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Regular risk updates are available from CWAC and the Environment Agency's social media channels.

Alternatively, sign up for flood warnings through or call the free Floodline on 0345 988 1188.